Photograph of a loose chimney. Bracing & Lateral Support Requirements for Tall Masonry Chimneys

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Chimney bracing & support:

How do we strengthen tall or wobblyh masonry chimneys? This article describes when and how support is added to tall masonry flues along the building exterior wall or above the roof-line.

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Bracing Requirements for Masonry Chimneys

Photograph of a loose chimney.Bracing may be required for chimneys that extend high above the roof line. Lateral support may be required to tie a chimney to the building structure. When these supports are missing, even a chimney set on a solid foundation may tip, wobble, or separate from the building it serves.

Loose wobbly masonry chimneys may be missing both lateral support (ties to the building wall) and rooftop support (Carson Dunlop's sketch, below right).

The chimney in our photo (above left) rocked and nearly fell over when we leaned on it a bit while climbing onto this roof.

Pushing gently on a tall flue like this should not produce easy movement.

But be careful! Don't try this at home and certainly not when there are people below, or when the flue is in use or probably any other time. A good wind could blow this chimney down.


Chimney bracing sketches below are provided courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates.


Lateral support for chimneys on building exterior (C) Carson Dunlop Associates Masonry chimney brace at rooftop (C) Carson Dunlop Associates

If the flue were intact and there was no other damage it might be possible to secure the chimney against movement. An expert was needed to decide how to make this one safe.

Lateral Support Requirements for Masonry Chimneys

In our photo (above left) the loose wobbly brick chimney was not supported at the roof and was not connected to the building - hence it moved easily and was in danger of collapse.

Chimneys built on the exterior of a building need lateral support every twelve feet of height as they pass up the building wall - shown in Carson Dunlop Associates [at REVIEWERS] sketch.

In earthquake and high wind areas additional chimney support may be required by local codes, including reinforcement within the masonry structure of the chimney itself.


Continue reading at CHIMNEY HEIGHT EXTENSIONS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.



Or see CHIMNEY HEIGHT & CLEARANCE CODE for details about the required height of a chimney above the building roof.


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BRACING for MASONRY CHIMNEYS at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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